Monday, January 31, 2011

Raisin and Cinnamon Pastries

I found this yummy pastry recipe that I love in an old book and I wanted to share it with you. It will take time and patience but it is worth it. The Danish Pastry (it is known in Denmark as Wienerbrod, or vienna bread) is not difficult to make if you follow precisely the directions. If I were to stress only one point, it would be that you should keep the dough as cold as possible so that it will not be sticky while you work with it. 

 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
2 packages yeast, active dry or compressed
1/4 cup warm water (lukewarm for compressed yeast)
1 cup cold milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Egg yolk
Cream butter with 1/2 cup of flour until well blended, and chill for 30 minutes. Soften yeast in warm water; add milk, egg, sugar, cardamom, and salt. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Beat with spoon until dough is smooth and elastic; beat in  remaining flour until well blended. Turn out on lightly floured board, form into ball, dust with flour, roll into a 16-inch square. Turn butter-flour mixture out on floured board roll and shape into a rectangle 8 by 16 inches  (it should roll out like pie crust; if too soft, chill longer). Place on one half of the yeast dough. Turn other half of dough over butter to encase it. Pinch edges together to seal. With a rolling pin, lightly pound dough to about 12 by 16 inches. Fold 1/3 of dough over center, then fold remaining 1/3 over center. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or in freezer for 10 minutes (don't freeze it). Pound dough lightly again into a rectangle, then roll into a 16-inch square and fold side thirds over center again; chill. Repeat pounding, rolling, folding, and chilling three times more. After final chilling, roll out the dough to a rectangle  about 16 inches x 20 inches, brush with milk and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon sugar and raisins. Roll up the dough lengthways and cut into 2-cm/3/4-inch-thick slice. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, arrange the pastries on it and leave in a warm place to rise . Bake in a preheated oven, Gas mark 6/200C/ 400F for 10-15 minutes. Mix the egg yolk with a little water and brush over the pastries shortly before the end of cooking time.
You can make buttery, flaky Danish pastry in any shape and it can be filled with apricot, prune, almond, coconut lemon, or vanilla custard filling.

~Have a wonderful day and come back soon~

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chicken in my Kitchen

Thinking about the Cotswolds region, where cottage doorways are a tangle of roses, and where hens and geese casually wander into cottage kitchens, is giving me a sense of tranquility. So I painted these hens and roosters for my kitchen to give it a country cottage look. I made this frame the same way that a used to make my faux fireplace.

Every morning compose your soul for a tranquil day, and all through it be careful often to recall your resolution, and bring yourself back to it, so to say. If something discomposes you, do not be upset, or troubled; but having discovered the fact, humble yourself gently before God, and try to bring your mind into a quiet attitude. Say to your self, "Well, I have made a false step; now I must go more carefully and watch-fully" Do this each time, however frequently you fall. When you are at peace use it profitably, making constant acts of meekness, and seeking to be calm even in the most trifling things. Above all, do not be discouraged; be patient; wait; strive to attain a calm, gentle spirit. ~St. Francois de Sales~

Have a wonderful day

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